If you want to make rice the right way every time, you may want to invest in a rice cooker. But even if you don’t have one or can’t afford one yet, don’t worry! Here’s a fail proof recipe for cooking perfect rice. It’s perfect when cooking seasoned rice dishes, because a broth or soup can be used instead of water, and various ingredients can be added to it before boiling.
This recipe makes 4 servings (4 rice bowls).
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 short pot (or 1 large saucepan)
2 cups of white rice (preferably glutinous, Persian or converted – depending on how sticky you want the rice)
2 tablespoons of margarine, butter, vegetable oil or rendered fat
3 or 3.5 cups water or broth
salt, to taste
1. Place the rice at the bottom of the saucepan and rinse it by washing it with cold water, and then pouring off the cloudy water. Repeat for a few times, until the water is clear and you can recognize the rice grains through the water. Pour off the last rinse.
2. Put your middle finger in the saucepan until it touches the bottom. Pour in broth or water until it reaches the second line of your finger.
3. Add the oil/butter/margarine and salt to taste.
4. Place on the stove and cover loosely (there should be about a centimeter of space between the edge of the saucepan and the side of the cover.
5. Turn on the stove at low/medium heat, and leave the saucepan for about 20 minutes.
6.Check to see if the rice is done. If it’s not, leave it a little longer (checking it for every 5 minutes).
7. How to check the rice: stick a spoon in the middle, and gently push to the side. If there’s any water left, move the rice back to cover the hole (trying not to touch it too much).
8. If you run out of water before the rice is completely done (or the level of softness you desire), pour 1/4 cup of hot water in the middle of the well you made for checking, and move back the rice to cover the water.
9. When the rice is done, turn off the heat, cover it completely and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
10. Stir, then serve.
There’s also another way to cook rice, this time for when you want it plain.
Here’s what you’ll need:
A large bowl
As much rice as you want (up to 5 cups).
A pot of salted water with about a tablespoon of oil
1. Set the pot of salted and oiled water on high heat.
2. Rinse the rice repeatedly in a large bowl, until the water is somewhat clear.
3. Drain as much water as you can from the rice, then wait until the water on the stove starts boiling.
4. When the water reaches a fast, rolling boil, gently pour in the rice.
5. Stir well to make sure the rice doesn’t stick together.
6. Cook for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring the rice, then check to see if it’s done.
7. Check every two minutes after that, and when the rice is as soft as you want, turn off the heat and pour the rice into a strainer.
8. Shake the strainer a little (to get out as much excess water as possible), then return the rice to the (now empty) pot.
9. Season the rice to taste, then serve.
Unless it is parboiled rice, rice cooked this way can be used to make rice balls. If you want to make deep-fried breaded rice balls, parboiled rice is best.
More tips for cooking rice
To get a nice golden color, stir a teaspoon of turmeric into the water in which the rice will cook.
Bouillon or seasoning blocks give a really nice flavor to rice. You need to stir the cubes after cooking in order to distribute them evenly.
Leftover rice can be used to make fried rice, or to replace bread crumbs for adding a little starch to a meatloaf.
Cooked rice should never be left to sit out for more than a few hours (unless you keep it very hot). To keep rice from burning at the bottom, place it in bain-marie (a pan that is atop a pan of water that is over a tea light or other warmer). To cool off rice quickly after a meal, transfer it from the pot to small containers.
If you’re following a salt-restricted diet but don’t like sweet rice, season it with a little pepper and some salt-free chicken broth to enhance its flavor.